Howard Dobson enters his 11th season as an assistant coach at LSU in 2022. He serves as the program’s hitting coach.
Since helping take the reins of the Tiger offense, the program has seen its offensive numbers surge to new heights. LSU has produced some of the most prolific hitting teams in program history. Fourteen individual single season records, eight individual career records along with 13 offensive season records have been broken since Dobson’s arrival in 2012. During his time in Baton Rouge, Dobson’s hitters have collected 10 All-American awards, eight All-SEC First Team honors and six All-SEC Second Team honors.
The 2020 season was shortened due to the pandemic but the Tigers’ offense was strong for 24 games, finishing with a .344 team batting average. Georgia Clark led the Tigers with a .425 average at the plate and led the team in home runs with four. Aliyah Andrews and Morgan Cummins also finished with a .400 or above average. Cummins also hit four home runs on the season. The Tigers scored 172 runs through 24 games, had a slugging percentage of .543 and an on-base percentage of .444. A total of 13 players ended the shortened season hitting .328 or above.
The Tigers saw a big increase in batting average in 2019 as they posted a .303 mark to finish the year, which was 43 points high than 2018. The Tigers broke the single-season home run record, finishing the year with a total of 74 home runs. Shelbi Sunseri and Shemiah Sanchez combined for 34 home runs, each finishing the season with 17 apiece. The Tigers scored a total of 73 runs through the first six games of the year, which was the most scored in any six-game stretch in program history. Sunseri and Amanda Sanchez earned NFCA All-American honors, while Shemiah Sanchez picked up First Team All-SEC honors.
In 2017, LSU made a third-consecutive Women’s College World Series appearance, Dobson’s sixth trip to Oklahoma City in his coaching career. For the third-straight season, the Tigers featured at least one player in double-digit home runs. The Tigers had the second-most hits in the conference, including Bailey Landry with 92 total hits on the year which was also second-best in the SEC.
Three players finished with a batting average of over .300 with Landry hitting a team-high .402 in the 70 games played. She finished with 21 extra-base hits. The Tigers also had four players with a .400 slugging percentage or higher. Sahvanna Jaquish led the team in slugging percentage (.514), RBI (61) and in walks (62). Her 61 RBIs was third among the league.
In 2016, LSU produced the fourth most hits in program history, second most runs scored, fourth most total bases and second most RBIs. The team’s patience at the plate also resulted in a program record 315 walks, the most for an LSU team in a single season and 57 more than the previous record. LSU made a second consecutive Women’s College World Series appearance, Dobson’s fifth trip to Oklahoma City in his coaching career. For the second consecutive season, the Tigers featured multiple hitters with double-digit home runs.
The team set multiple school and SEC records in a 30-8 victory against Louisiana Tech. The line for the night showed LSU with 30 runs scored on 27 hits, including seven home runs and 27 RBIs. The runs scored and home runs in the game tied SEC records, while the 27 hits was also a league record. The Tigers scored 15 runs in the 6th inning, a program record, and collected a program-record 56 total bases during the contest.
The 2015 Tigers set five team statistical records on the way to Dobson’s fourth trip to the Women’s College World Series. LSU finished the season setting a new team record with a .335 batting average, .523 slugging percentage and .425 on-base percentage, driving in a record 392 RBIs and scoring 428 times. The squad finished two homers shy of tying the record set in 2014 with 63. For the second time in program history, a trio of players recorded 10+ home runs.
Seven of eight LSU starters finished the 2015 year with a batting average above .300, with two nearly breaking a 15-year-old record in the process hitting above .400 in Bianka Bell and Bailey Landry. LSU produced a program record five NFCA All-Americans led by Bell on the first team, with Landry and Sahvanna Jaquish landing on the second team. Bell was named the Louisiana Hitter of the Year becoming the fourth player to win that award ever at LSU. She also earned a spot with Dobson on the USA Softball Senior Women’s National Team.
The 2014 team earned the second highest team batting average in program history at .314, while the squad’s 65 home runs were the most in a single year in program history. Sahvanna Jaquish hit 17 home runs, a single season program record, on her way to becoming the 16th NFCA All-American in program history. Jaquish was one of seven players to finish the season with a batting average of .300 or better. Jaquish, along with Bianka Bell (NFCA All-South Region first team), A.J. Andrews (All-SEC Second Team, NFCA All-South Region second team), Allison Falcon (NFCA All-South Region second team), Bailey Landry, Tammy Wray and Sandra Simmons each achieved this feat in 2014.
LSU turned in a 65-point improvement in batting average from the 2012 to 2013 season. In 2013, the Tigers had five players with at least a .300 batting average which included All-SEC honorees A.J. Andrews (first team), Bianka Bell (second team) and Jacee Blades (second team). Andrews was the 15th player in program history to notch NFCA All-America status, while Bell garnered the SEC’s Freshman of the Year award after her 12 homers tied for third-most in program history for a single season.
Dobson returned to the Women’s College World Series for the third time in his coaching career with the Tigers during the 2012 season. Ashley Langoni joined former All-American Leslie Klein (2006) and Rachel Mitchell (2008) as the only players to capture the program’s triple crown during a single season.
Dobson has been heavily involved with USA Softball over the last seven summers. He served as an assistant coach on the USA Softball Elite Team in 2012 and the USA Softball Women’s National Team in 2013. He traveled with Team USA to the World Cup of Softball and the Canadian Open and returned as an assistant coach for the senior national team in the summer of 2014. The National Team was a Silver Medalist in the World Championships in Holland. Dobson returned to the National Team again two years later and helped the team to silver at the Pan American Games and the defending World Champions at the World Championships in Surrey, BC in 2016.
This past summer, Dobson helped coach Team USA to a WBSC World Championship with a 7-6 walk-off win. That win secured a spot for Team USA in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. Dobson and former Tiger Sahvanna Jaquish were both a part of Team USA in the summer of 2018 and 2019. The two also claimed the USA International Cup Championship held in Irvine, California. Dobson will continue to help with Team USA this year, including taking the trip to Tokyo for the Olympics next summer.
Dobson spent the previous four seasons as the head coach of Southern Miss. During his tenure with the Golden Eagles, he coached seven All-Conference USA performers highlighted by Megan Hill. The four-time All-Conference USA pick set eight offensive program records, including hits (205), RBIs (151), runs scored (148), home runs (48) and total bases (398). She also garnered NFCA All-Midwest First-Team accolades, the program’s first recipient since the 2000 season.
Prior to Southern Miss, Dobson served as an assistant coach at Oklahoma for five seasons. He helped the Sooners continue to develop their reputation as not only a Big 12 offensive powerhouse but a national offensive juggernaut.
OU topped the Big 12 in scoring and also ranked among the league’s top two in batting average during all five of his seasons in Norman. The Sooners had seven players secure NFCA All-American honors in addition to 15 NFCA All-Midwest Region selections and 20 All-Big 12 honorees. Norrele Dickson, Heather Scaglione and Kristin Vesely racked up multiple NFCA All-America selections under Dobson.
Dobson played an instrumental role as OU made a pair of trips to the Women’s College World Series trips in 2003 and 2004. The Sooners also made four NCAA Super Regional runs (2003, 2004, 2005, 2007) during their five consecutive trips to the postseason sparked by a 55-win campaign in 2007, which is tied for third in the OU record books.
Before Oklahoma, Dobson contributed to the establishment of Houston’s softball program in 2000. The Orange, Texas, native had players notch 10 All-Conference USA accolades in two seasons fueled by Kristen Glowacz’s 2002 C-USA Freshman of the Year award. The 2002 Cougars paced C-USA in hits (480), runs scored (279), slugging percentage (.448), RBIs (244) and home runs (47).
Dobson began his coaching career in the Pelican State with stops at Southeastern Louisiana, McNeese State, Barbe High School and LaGrange High School in Lake Charles. He directed his team at Barbe to a 5A state championship and gained valuable experience working at collegiate skills camps along with coaching on the international level. In the summer of 1999, his international team won the German Open.
A former all-conference performer at Panola College in Carthage, Texas, Dobson went on to finish his collegiate baseball career at McNeese State where he graduated with a degree in health and human performance and English in 1997.
Dobson and his wife, Katharine, have a son Trip. They live in Baton Rouge.